If past generations defined the real estate market as they moved from apartments to home ownership, millennials – and, increasingly Gen Z – are reshaping how we think about renting. The reason: with incomes down and housing and rental prices up, most can’t afford a home, or even to live without roommates. Suddenly, adults who would normal only live with their partners are vetting potential roommates and navigating the types of conflicts they should have left behind in college.
Despite this less than ideal situation, young tenants are also pushing the rental industry to offer more. From luxury apartments to co-living spaces, millennials tenants are blurring the lines between home, work, and play, and the rental industry is being forced to be creative.
The Amenities Arms Race
Millennials are veterans of the amenities arms race. They went to college as universities were improving their luxury offerings and now they’re bringing the same energy to the rental market. So what amenities are apartments offering to attract tenants? In Los Angeles, you’ll find apartments equipped with enormous rooftop parks, while others offer tenant-only dining opportunities. Depending on demographics, other apartments offer childcare and playrooms, while even small complexes are likely to offer in-complex gyms,
It’s not just apartments in major urban centers that are gearing up to attract younger tenants. For example, in the small town of Selma TX, Lookout Hollow apartment tenants have access to two swimming pools and clubhouses, detached garages, and private storage, as well as multiple floorplans, granite countertops, and other luxury features. With more young tenants working remotely, luxury apartments outside the urban center are in greater demand, whereas in the past, those in the suburbs simply would have bought houses.
The Co-Living Model
In addition to seeking out more extensive luxury amenities, many millennial renters are looking for an alternative living situation. If they’re going to live with roommates, for example, some millennials are opting for co-living spaces that are more like dormitories than apartments. Co-living spaces come with a built-in community, and some are even blended with modern co-working setups that are popular with freelancers. Co-living/co-working hybrids mean that young workers who might ordinarily spend their days isolated at home or hidden behind their screens at a coffee shop have company – people who are almost like coworkers.
Pooling resources through co-living also means that groups of millennials can get more for their money. While their individual dwellings might be different than traditional apartments, the overall building offers more – at a lower cost than luxury units. In many ways, co-living is Silicon Valley’s answer to the 1970s collective. It’s resource sharing gone modern.
Sometimes traditional models lose their relevance, and while traditional apartments and home ownership aren’t going anywhere, they’re hardly the only ways to live and build community. And with prices high and the average age of marriage later, it makes sense to bring people together under one roof beyond the couple model. It makes financial sense, it’s a good use of resources, and in our socially disconnected, digital age, luxury apartment complexes with their shared spaces and the automatic community of co-living could help young residents rethink what it means to have neighbors and friends.